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End-of-year interviews: how to prepare?

Published on :
27 Sep 2023
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The end of the year is approaching and you have the ambivalent impression that it was as short as it was long? We admit it, it's the same for us. Now that the cards have been dealt, it's time to launch your annual performance review campaign and take a close look at what's been achieved.

These are essential meetings between manager and employee. During this exercise, we take stock of the past year, set objectives and define those for the coming year. When properly conducted, these annual appraisals bring the year to a fitting close, and reinforce employee commitment and motivation.

For them to be a success, your annual reviews need to be well prepared. What are the best practices to follow? Here's your guide!

Taking stock of the year's achievements

The primary objective of the annual performance review is to assess the employee. In concrete terms, have the defined objectives been achieved? To find out, you'll need to analyze a few metrics. While for some professions this exercise is simple, for others, objectifying the assessment is more tricky. Let's look at two cases in detail.

In the first case, your employee is a salesperson. There's nothing too complicated about assessing their performance. All you need to do is analyze indicators such as the number of new customers, the number of products sold in relation to the target set, or customer satisfaction.

In the second case, your employee is a training manager. Their job is to monitor and improve the training offered to employees. How do you assess performance when the job relies heavily on soft skills such as listening and creativity? One way would be to analyze indirect data such as the number of employees enrolled in training, the completion rate and the skills developed. Then individual indicators such as learner feedback on their learning path.

In any case, this assessment should serve as the basis for your discussion with the employee.

Encourage feedback from peers

Your employees have to work with other people: colleagues, customers, service providers... What's more, as N+1 you're not necessarily the person who spends the most time with your team, especially since telecommuting has become more widespread.

Peer-to-peer appraisal, also known as 360° feedback, enables us to call on the employee's professional entourage (direct or indirect) to measure and judge his or her results over a given period. What's in it for you? By multiplying the number of feedbacks, you can bypass certain unconscious cognitive biases that can lead to favoritism or inflexibility.

Peer feedback completes your assessment, making it more objective and fair. You can then make better decisions to improve your employee's performance and well-being.

Anticipating this year's trends

The ADP survey "People at work 2022: the Workforce View study" reveals that 53% of employees would consider leaving their company if their employer imposed 100% face-to-face working. [The JLL barometer of employee preferences in 2022]( dernière édition de notre,le pratiquer déjà aujourd'hui.) shows that having a good work/life balance tops the list of talent expectations. And the decline in purchasing power linked to rising inflation worries them. Quite a lot!

At a time when companies are struggling to retain employees, these new expectations are a subject that needs to be put on the table. What is the company's position on these concerns? What decisions and actions will be implemented to improve employees' purchasing power and life balance?

As far as possible, we advise you to come up with some answers. Contact the HR department to find out.

Besides these issues that affect everyone, perhaps your company is undergoing an organizational transformation? Such a change can disrupt your team's operations and performance. Now's the time to discuss it at your annual performance review.

Allowing employees to evaluate themselves

According to a 2021 Elevo study, 44% of French employees find the annual performance review pointless. In other words, many see it as a chore that doesn't lead to any concrete solutions. What if, to put an end to this image, you invited employees to take an active part in their appraisal?

After all, if the appraisal interview gets a bad name, it's because it has all the hallmarks of a class council! In other words, employees adopt a passive attitude and wait to see if they've been good performers or not. For this reason, we suggest that you introduce self-evaluation. The idea? Employees take the time to assess their objectives and skills, and to reflect on their career aspirations.

This practice empowers your employees and enriches your discussion during the interview. As a result, you have more material on which to base your understanding of the issues facing your N-1s, and to provide them with a more personalized response.

Breaking down your interview into themes

Although the annual performance review is, in principle, centered on performance assessment, there are other subjects that need to be addressed, as they have a direct or indirect influence on motivation, commitment, well-being and performance. To make sure you don't forget anything and to simplify the exercise, we recommend structuring your interview outline by theme: objectives, skills, working conditions, management, work/life balance... Be careful, however, not to make your outline too heavy, as this could discourage employees when it comes to their self-assessment!

Finally, end on a positive note by addressing the employee's development to anchor their commitment. Specifically, what are their aspirations? What skills do they want to develop?

Defining the place and the day in advance

Last but not least: practical arrangements. Since everyone has a busy schedule, it's best to plan your interviews well in advance.

Specifically, when are you going to hold your year-end interviews? Where will they take place? Remote or face-to-face? In a meeting room? These are important details. Ideally, you should choose a neutral location to put your interviewer at ease and avoid the "class council" effect we've been talking about.

And to save time and avoid having to send multiple e-mails to agree on a date that suits everyone, we advise you to equip yourself with a specialized interview management tool. On the market, you'll find general solutions such as HRIS or specialized solutions such as Elevo.

As you can see, preparing well for your annual appraisal is an important step in making this exercise a time of quality exchange, and one that strengthens the manager/employee relationship. Good luck!

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